Sadly I don't own Harry Potter. It belongs to the fabulous J. K. Rowling
Summary: Losing so many in the war and blaming himself, Harry finds solace in the last person he expects, helping him heal not only his mind but his heart as well.
This is a birthday story for Cathcer1984 and is therefore dedicated to her. Hope you like it :D
This story will have Eight chapters, a chapter a day :D
I want to thank Marksmom for beta'ing this for me and for help with the title and Summary. Thank you x
Harry Potter looked up at the ruins of the only place he knew as home. He sighed and took a deep breath before he walked forward; he walked across the now ruined bridge where he had stood with Ron and Hermione not long after the war was finally over.
He got halfway across and met McGonagall. "Harry." she said, a small smile on her face.
"I was surprised when I received an owl this morning with a letter from you saying you were coming. I thought after what happened not two weeks ago you wouldn't want to come back."
"Professor, since the war I haven't been able to leave Grimmauld place without being hounded; I don't want it, any of it, so I came home. Besides I want to help with the rebuilding and, if possible, come back for my seventh year that I missed."
"Of course it is Harry. Although, given what you did in the war, I don't think you will need NEWTs to become an Auror."
"I no longer want to be an Auror Professor. I want to return, study, take my NEWTs and hopefully pass."
"No longer an Auror? Quidditch player?"
"No I don't want to be an Auror as I have fought enough bad people to last me a lifetime. Being a quidditch player will only make me more famous than I already am and I hate that. I just want to settle down with a job, a safe job."
"Do you have one in mind?"
"I would like to become a Professor here."
"Professor Flitwick will be retiring in three years. If you study and pass, I am sure he will take you under his wing, so to speak, and help to prepare you. If you do well enough Harry, pass your NEWTs for Charms and he is pleased with how you come along, the job is yours when he retires."
"Really? Thank you Professor. I will study hard; I just want a normal school year."
"I will say you have earned it as well Harry. As for helping rebuild this place and wanting to hide from everyone, I will let you stay in the dungeons; there are plenty of rooms down there which you are more than welcome to use. I can assign an elf to you for your meals if you want to be alone and let you know what you can do to help each day."
"Thank you Professor, that would help a lot."
"You are welcome Harry; it is the least I can do. Do you want to go back and pack some of your things up? I will be in my office when you return and show you to your new rooms until you return to Gryffindor tower when Hogwarts reopens."
"Will we get it open in time Professor?"
"We can damn well try Harry. Magic goes a long way."
Harry smiled. "Thank you Professor. I will be back soon." and with that he turned and left.
A few hours later Harry walked into Minerva's office with Kreacher slightly behind him. "Kreacher will be getting my food if that's alright Professor. I don't want anyone knowing I am here."
"With how people have been hounding you, I can understand that. You have my word no one but me, and those who need to know, will know you are here. I have some rooms ready for you in the dungeons. The wall got blasted through when the Slytherins got out; the wall needs to be repaired and the room needs a good cleaning."
"I can do that Professor. I will settle in tonight and start in the morning. Thank you." he said, smiling as he left, Kreacher, who remained silent, following him.
The next morning Harry was just having his breakfast when Kreacher appeared at the side of him. "Kreacher be telling Master Harry that people is coming here, people who is helping."
"Thank you Kreacher, just keep an eye out and let me know straight away if any of them get too close to where I am."
"Yes Master Harry."
"And Kreacher, make sure you are not seen, people know you are my elf so if they see you they will think I am not far away and I want no one knowing where I am."
"Kreacher will be discreet master."
When Harry had his breakfast he had got up and left his rooms and decided to check the dungeons over, seeing what needed the most work, he could hear people from far away as they began to do what they could; he cast a Disillusionment Charm on himself and started to search the many rooms, he came to where Snape's office was and heard a male voice. "That's enough, you are to be up stairs where you will be watched closely."
Harry stood in the doorway and saw a man in Auror robes, his arms folded, tapping his wand lightly against his bicep as he was watching another in the office.
"I don't understand why I can't clean in here. It is my godfather's office afterall."
Harry gasped, Malfoy was here?
"The correct term is 'was' Malfoy, it was his office, not anymore it isn't. With him being a Death Eater, how do we know there isn't something in here that will help you escape."
"He was innocent! Always had been, he has received medals, got order of Merlin first class because of what he has done."
"Isn't exactly around to collect them though is he. Funny how you say he was a good guy and ended up dying, but your father who is far from innocent ends up living."
"You think I don't hate that? More than anything I wished him dead and for Severus to live. Severus was more of a father to me than that excuse of a man ever was!"
"Very touching...I bent rules by letting you in here to see his office, now do as you are told and get up to the Astronomy tower."
"No." Harry heard the fear in Malfoy's voice.
"Please I will clean anywhere but there, please."
"No Malfoy, you are here on probation, you clean and help where we tell you to; you do not pick and choose...now move it!"
Harry quickly hurried away when he heard footsteps he stopped and turned and saw Malfoy walk out the office; given how he looked, if Harry hadn't have heard him talk first he wouldn't have known it was Malfoy as his clothes were dirty and torn a little in places, he looked thinner than he normally did and his hair long and had gone from white/blond to a dirty blond.
"Working here all day am I at least allowed a shower when I finish for the day?"
"Every cloud." Malfoy murmured as he and the auror walked further away from Harry and disappeared from view.
Kreacher appeared in front of Harry. "Master be calling Kreacher sir?"
"The young Malfoy is in the castle I need you to let me know where he will be each day so I know to keep away."
"Kreacher is thinking you is wanting to thank him for saving your life sir."
"I thanked him by saving his in return, Kreacher I want no one except those who do know that I am here."
"Yes sir." Kreacher said, bowing before he left.
When Kreacher left Harry headed to what was the Slytherin common room, he saw the big hole in the wall and knew the Slytherin's must have done it to get free after McGonagall had ordered Filch to lock them in the dungeons.
He made his way through and saw that apart from where parts had been destroyed it hadn't changed since he and Ron snuck in there in his second year. Harry let himself smile at the memory before he started to get to work.
When Harry had done all he could for the day he returned to his rooms where he sat on the settee in front of the fire, never feeling more alone than he did right now. He knew he had Hermione and the Weasleys but he didn't want to bother them; Hermione was off in Australia finding her parents, Ron was still not talking much after Fred's death.
Harry then sat and thought about who he had lost in the never ending war. His mum and dad, Sirius, Dumbledore, Dobby, Snape, Remus.
Kreacher had brought him some food a while ago but he hadn't touched it; he didn't feel all that hungry. He couldn't help thinking that the war had started because Voldemort wanted him dead and yet he came out alive at the end of it.
Harry turned and looked to see McGonagall standing there, Kreacher at her side. "See, Kreacher is telling Headmistress that his Master Harry is not eating his food."
"Take that food away and get some more Kreacher." McGonagall ordered, sitting beside Harry when Kreacher did as he was asked.
"Harry you need to eat, and cutting yourself off from the world isn't healthy either."
"If the press wouldn't hound me then I wouldn't have to, besides I just want to be alone. I don't want anyone, don't need anyone."
"You say that now Harry. You probably felt the same after your godfather died, and Albus. So many deaths in the final battle will make you feel even worse and like this. Harry, I said I would tell no one you are here in return for me doing this for you I need you to do something for me...I need you to eat and not blame yourself."
When Harry didn't answer McGonagall went on. "Harry, can you come and see me in my office after breakfast tomorrow please? Password is Tabby."
"Okay Professor." Harry answered, picking up a bit of food that Kreacher had brought and didn't stop until his plate was empty.
"Thank you Harry." McGonagall said. "Might I make a suggestion?"
"Don't sit and stare like I just found you. Everyone comes and helps rebuild but go at four, go for a walk along the grounds." she said and left Harry alone once more.
"Kreacher is sorry Master for telling but Kreacher was worried about Master."
"No need to apologise Kreacher. It's fine."
The next morning after breakfast Harry had placed his invisibility cloak over him and headed to McGonagall's office. He said the password and walked into the circular room and looked around to see that all the portraits had gone blank, all except one that was hanging on the wall to the left of Dumbledore's portrait.
"Professor Snape, Sir. I am sorry."
"I wish there was something I could have done to save you; you are only one of the many that died that night, all of them dying. This war was between me and Voldemort and a lot of innocent people got killed because of it; the one Voldemort wanted dead ended up getting out of the war alive."
"You are actually blaming yourself?"
"Yes, people died because of me."
"No Potter...people died as people do in a war; they joined the war, knowing full well of what the consequences were. They knew if they went into the war there was little chance of them coming out alive. You knew that when you decided to fight correct?"
"Different? I see. You know Potter, that prophecy said the child born at the end of July to parents who had thrice fought against Voldemort would be the chosen one."
"You were not the only one. There was one more, another born at the end of July, whose parents had thrice fought against the madman."
"Longbottom. If he was the chosen one and you had a normal school life like he had and there was a war and a madman wanted him dead would you join the war and fight like he did?"
"Then answer me this Potter, how is it different?"
"Because I said so."
Just then McGonagall came down from up the stairs in the office. "There you are Harry. Sorry I am late."
"That's okay I was talking to Professor Snape." Harry turned to Severus. "Thank you sir."
When Harry left Minerva looked at Severus' portrait. "How did it go?"
"I got through to him. Idiot boy shouldn't blame himself."
Minerva smirked. "Thank you Severus. Anything I can do."
"Have my portrait put somewhere where I will get peace and quiet."
Minerva laughed. "As soon as I find the right place I will move you." Minerva promised.
What do you think?
Chapter Two up tomorrow :D